CONCORD — The Police Chiefs of Acton, Bedford, Concord, Carlisle, Lincoln, Lexington, Stow, Maynard and Hanscom Air Force Base, which together comprise the Central Middlesex Police Partnership (CMPP), are pleased to announce a new drug disposal program for residents.
The program provides free, at-home drug disposal kits to the public, which can be picked up at locations including the Concord Council on Aging, Lincoln Council on Aging, Concord Human Services Offices, Bedford Board of Health, Bedford Council on Aging, Bedford Police Department, Acton Police Department, Concord Police Department, West Concord Pharmacy, Carlisle Police Department and Acton Pharmacy.
“We’re thrilled to launch this program, which is making it easier than ever for people to dispose of unwanted, highly addictive medications safely and conveniently,” said Central Middlesex Police Partnership Jail Diversion Program Clinician Mackenzie Dezieck. “It’s our hope that making these kits accessible will make a significant impact on the quantities of these drugs that are being stored in local homes.”
The goal of the pilot program is to test whether making the at-home drug disposal kits readily available will help reduce the number of unused and unwanted prescription medications that are often left in medicine cabinets.
“We’re glad that we are able to provide another option for citizens to remove unwanted medications from their homes,” said Concord Police Chief Joseph O’Connor. “This initiative will hopefully reduce the possibility of people gaining access to someone else’s prescribed medications.”
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encourages people to properly dispose of prescription medications and other dangerous drugs, instead of leaving those medications in their homes. According to the FDA, approximately 50% of people who misuse prescription pain medications took them from a family member or friend.
The Central Middlesex Police Partnership has partnered with End Mass Overdose, a Boston based non-profit organization, to launch the new pilot program, which will allow people to properly dispose of unused opioids and other unwanted prescription medications at home. The program was made possible by a grant awarded to End Mass Overdose from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“We are removing barriers to entry when it comes to drug disposal, and I personally encourage everyone who is interested to take part in this pilot program and pick up a disposal kit,” said Bedford Police Chief Robert Bongiorno. “We all know how dangerous and deadly unwanted and unneeded prescriptions can be when they fall into the wrong hands.”
The kits, which come as drug disposal bags, contain deactivating materials. Once a pill or liquid drugs are put in the drug disposal bag, individuals are instructed to add water and shake for 30 seconds, after which they can safely dispose of the kit along with other trash.
“We’re so fortunate to have been awarded this grant to pilot this program in our area, and hopefully a lot of people take advantage of these kits and a number of prescription drugs will be disposed of, safely, as a result,” Maynard Police Chief Mark Dubois said. “Addressing the impact opioids have had on our society will take a long time yet. It is programs like this and ideas like these kits that will make all the difference moving forward.”
A survey form will be given out with each kit, and results from the survey will be used to determine the efficacy of the program.
Any individual or organization which would like to learn more or obtain free at-home drug disposal kits should can contact the pilot program leaders: Project Manager and Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Professor Francis Melaragni [email protected] or Central Middlesex Police Partnership Jail Diversion Program Clinician Mackenzie Dezieck at [email protected] or by calling 781-999-5765
This project has been funded in whole or in part with federal funds from the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, under Cooperative Agreement UG4LM012347-01 with the University of Massachusetts, Worcester.